New Delhi: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, whose ‘rashtrapatni’ remark stirred up a political storm, on Friday tendered a written apology to President Draupadi Murmu saying it was a “slip of tongue”.
Admitting to his mistake in his letter to the President, he said, “I am writing to express my regret for having mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the position you hold. I assure you that it was a slip of the tongue. I apologise and request you to accept the same.”
Chowdhury also targetted Union Minister Smriti Irani in his letter saying the manner in which Irani took Murmu’s name in the House was neither proper nor in consonance with the status and position of the president.
“She was yelling ‘Draupadi Murmu’ repeatedly without prefixing Hon’ble President or Madame or Smt. before the Hon’ble President’s name. This clearly amounts to degrading the stature of the office of the Hon’ble President. Therefore, I demand that the way Smt. Smriti Irani was addressing the Hon’ble President may be expunged from the proceedings of the House,” he said.
Chowdhury had on Wednesday used the word ‘rashtrapatni” for President Murmu while talking to reporters during a Congress protest at Vijay chowk in Delhi. His comment created a major political row leading to ruckus in Parliament, which is holding its monsoon session. The ruling BJP demanded an apology from him while also targetting Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Responding to the protests by BJP, Chowdhury had said that he had sought time from President Murmu and he would apologise to her personally and not to “pakhandis” (hypocrites) of the BJP. However, it was not known whether the President had given him time.
Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessed noisy scenes, with proceeding being disrupted for two days in a row over the remark with BJP leaders launching a major offensive.
The row led to further controversies in Parliament as Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Smriti Irani had a face-off. The Congress leaders alleged that the BJP MPs, including Irani, brutally heckled and verbally assaulted the veteran Congress leader. The party also accused the BJP MPs of “physical intimidation” in the lower house.